3 years ago

Predicting Displaceable Water Sites Using Mixed-Solvent Molecular Dynamics

Predicting Displaceable Water Sites Using Mixed-Solvent
Molecular Dynamics
Richard D. Smith, Sarah E. Graham, Heather A. Carlson
Water molecules are an important factor in protein–ligand binding. Upon binding of a ligand with a protein’s surface, waters can either be displaced by the ligand or may be conserved and possibly bridge interactions between the protein and ligand. Depending on the specific interactions made by the ligand, displacing waters can yield a gain in binding affinity. The extent to which binding affinity may increase is difficult to predict, as the favorable displacement of a water molecule is dependent on the site-specific interactions made by the water and the potential ligand. Several methods have been developed to predict the location of water sites on a protein’s surface, but the majority of methods are not able to take into account both protein dynamics and the interactions made by specific functional groups. Mixed-solvent molecular dynamics (MixMD) is a cosolvent simulation technique that explicitly accounts for the interaction of both water and small molecule probes with a protein’s surface, allowing for their direct competition. This method has previously been shown to identify both active and allosteric sites on a protein’s surface. Using a test set of eight systems, we have developed a method using MixMD to identify conserved and displaceable water sites. Conserved sites can be determined by an occupancy-based metric to identify sites which are consistently occupied by water even in the presence of probe molecules. Conversely, displaceable water sites can be found by considering the sites which preferentially bind probe molecules. Furthermore, the inclusion of six probe types allows the MixMD method to predict which functional groups are capable of displacing which water sites. The MixMD method consistently identifies sites which are likely to be nondisplaceable and predicts the favorable displacement of water sites that are known to be displaced upon ligand binding.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jcim.7b00268

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.7b00268

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